Cooking in games has been a staple for a long time, and as gaming trends have evolved, so have cooking mechanics. In this article we'll be looking at the history of cooking in games, as well as some modern recipes that have been translated from gameplay into real life.
But first, let's look at the history! Cooking in video games started out with simple side quests or mini-games which oftentimes were just a means to an end. For example, take the original Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. If you wanted to access Level 8: The Dark World, you had to cook a fish during a particular part of the game to gain passage. That being said, nowadays there are many titles that use cooking as more than just an extra step on your quest; it's now integral to playstyle and plot!
Here’s a list of a few that incorporate cooking and gaming into one experience!
Stardew Valley (2016)
Cooking in games is an interesting concept. Cooking in real life is a common pastime but cooking in games? Well, it's not all that common. Sure, there are a few games that have a cooking function - but they're typically used to progress through the story or unlock something new.
The best example of this would be Stardew Valley, which allows you to grow your own crops and cook meals for your villagers. This game has been out for a few years now and still remains one of the most popular farming games on the market. In Stardew Valley, you can choose from six different farm plots, each with their own unique resources and layout. You can harvest crops from these individual farm plots as well as from wild grasses around town. If you want to be a successful farmer in Stardew Valley, then you'll need to learn how to cook food!
Undertale is a well known 2d role playing video game which was originally a mod for Earthbound but it quickly became it’s own game with the game developers being Toby Fox and Temmie Chang. The gamer takes control of a child who has wandered into the Underground, a vast, solitary area beneath the Earth's crust divided by a mystical barrier.
Unlike other traditional games where cooking is seen as a means for survival or pass time, cooking in Undertale has a unique comedic element and the gameplay reminds you of being in a live cooking show. For example Undertale has a long running gag about a spaghetti recipe which has been extremely popular among the fanbase, where you’ll find people recreating it and many other recipes in the real world.
Elder Scrolls IV Skyrim (2011 - 2016)
Skyrim is one of my favourite games of all time. During the covid pandemic, I could only think about playing two games—Skyrim and Assassin's creed. In Skyrim, you play as the last ‘dragonborn’ , a human who wields powers to control dragons using different commands called ‘shouts.’ The game is deeply immersive, allowing you to essentially create yourself and your story in the world of Skyrim.
Cooking in Skyrim is so diverse, it can mean to buy from your local market or to hunt your own food, whether it be deer, rabbit or crab! Nothing comes close to the feeling of hunting in Skyrim, especially when that music comes on! Also the sweet rolls, gosh how I need them in my life!
Despite the game being over a decade old, the community feel, the release of new and enticing mods keep the game fresh. In fact, the game recently had their 10th anniversary, and it’s so amazing how this game just keeps on giving. Bethesda, the company behind Elder Scrolls IV Skyrim, has released a new fishing feature. Now you’re able to fish in lakes, streams and seas, cook and eat them!
I was also todays years old when I found out Skyrim had an official cookbook!
Genshin Impact (2020)
Genshin Impact has been one of the most talked about games in 2020 and 2021. It’s an anime style action roleplay game made by the Chinese video game company MiHoYo. Genshin Impact put me right back to old school gaming when it came to cooking. In this game, cooking is seen as crafting. Players have to hunt and search for food and are only able to create their dish using stoves and campfires. Many of their dishes are Asian inspired and sound incredibly delicious such as sakura mochi, tonkotsu ramen but also have dishes closer to home such as hash brown, ratatouille and pancakes!
There are too many Genshin Impact recipes which have been made into reality and all of them look too amazing!
So there you have it, some cooking mechanics in games! You would never think to put these two words together but games have become so immersive these days that cooking is now seen as a genuine feature in a lot of games these days. It’s also great to see people actually make these recipes into reality, it really gives an incentive to try out new and amazing recipes. Here’s a video I found which brings together these two concepts.